National

Chidambaram’s bail plea rejected after AIIMS panel says he need not be hospitalised

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram   | Photo Credit: PTI

Delhi High Court directs Superintendent of Tihar Jail to keep his cell clean and provide him facilities such as mineral water, home-cooked food, and mosquito net.

The Delhi High Court on Friday rejected the interim bail plea of former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the INX media money laundering case after an AIIMS Medical Board felt that his health condition required only continous treatment and he need not be admitted in a sterile environment of a hospital.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait took into consideration the report of the panel, which also included Chidambaram's family doctor Dr. D. Nageshwar Reddy of the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology in Hyderabad, that “hospitalisation of Chidambaram was not necessary as all his vitals are normal”.

The panel, however, suggested that the 74-year-old leader be kept in a clean and hygienic environment.

Court directive to jail

Following this report, the High Court directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to ensure that the surroundings of the jail housing him is kept clean and hygienic. It also allowed mineral water, home-cooked food and mosquito net in his cell. 

The court directed regular medical check-up of Mr. Chidambaram. It also allowed him to have a pollution mask.

The senior Congress leader had moved the court for interim bail, claiming that he was suffering from Crohn's disease, which has become acute during his time in custody.

On Thursday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal urged the court to place Mr. Chidambaram in a sterile environment, highlighting that he was currently on liquid diet. Considering his age and medical condition, there is a high likelihood of his condition deteriorating further unless he is treated by his regular doctor, he argued. He suggested that his client could be sent to Hyderabad or admitted to Apollo Hospital there, where Dr. Reddy can treat him, as his condition was very serious and needed immediate attention.

In his plea, Mr. Chidambaram said that for the past several days he was suffering from chronic abdominal pain due to Crohn’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 2017. Additionally his plea stated that he had lost weight from 73.5 kg to 66 kg due to the ailment.

The court had on this plea decided to set up the AIIMS medical board.

Mr. Chidambaram had moved the court seeking regular bail in the alleged money laundering case, in which he is presently in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX Media case, which is being probed by the CBI.

The case relates to a First Information Report registered by CBI on May 15, 2017 against alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Mr. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister.

The ED is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering arising out of the FIR.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 1:07:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delhi-high-court-rejects-chidambarams-bail-plea/article29853893.ece

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